pekka hämäläinen The history of the Civil War era is in the midst of a western turn. Just as the historians of Early America have adopted a continental perspective for their field, so too have the historians of the Civil War era widened their optics. They have begun to see the separation of the histories of the Civil War and the American West as an artificial divide and to reveal how similar forces simultaneously transformed the South and the West during and after the war. They have, by any measure, been widely successful.1 With the West in the frame, Civil War America is expanding in scope and taking on new meanings. We are learning how western events and ambitions shaped the national struggles over race, freedom, and belonging and we are learning how those battles unfolded in the West, changing the region profoundly and irrevocably. Many of us now think of the years between 1845 and 1877 as the "Greater Reconstruction," a period defined by three wars (the U.S.-Mexican War, the Civil War, and War against Native America), a continent-wide racial crisis, the extension of northern state power to the South and the West, and wholesale dispossession of
The Journal of the Civil War Era – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Nov 3, 2016
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